Monday, October 19, 2009

On The Introduction to Plato's Republic

In the prelude we get a few wonderful lines from Cephalus on how content he is in his old age. He is glad to be done with the passions of youth and can give more money to his sons than he inherited. But he has a great fear of death, this makes him wonder if he has wronged anyone.
He mentions that since he is wealthy he can pay his debts both to other human and the gods. In light of the coming discourse it must be asked "Is he eudaimon or happy?" and if this is so is it because he has been dikaiosune or doing right (or as my translation horribly says "just")? He worries about giving back what one has borrowed, but Socrates brings up that sometimes its not right to give back what was borrowed. This launches the Republic. Somehow this initial problem will turn into the description of the ideal state.

Socrates and Polemarchus debate that dikaiosune is "Giving every man his due" which is quickly linked to "doing good to one's friends and doing harm to ones enemies". From this conversation certain muddled concepts that will remain muddled throughout this section show up or are hinted at. The main mix up is the extent that Techne or skill is mixed or separated from dikaiosune and both from happiness. My main irritation (yet also my main pleasure as this is a dialogue and Plato does try to do justice to both sides) at Plato in this section the way Socrates seems to exploit this to win arguments. I think Plato realizes this and he has other characters call Socrates on it. But I also think Plato knows he wants to go down a certain kind of philosophic road, but gives us hints that other avenues are out there (or I could reading too much into certain lines). Anyway, in this section Socrates seems to separate the just man from people who do harm to their enemies and good to their friends. This could be linked to the fact that this is an ideal just man who would only do just things in the most just way. This ends up making him a warrior in war time and a banker in peace time. Here dikaiosune has been separated from Techne in the general sense. But it could also be said that it could be a narrow kind of Techne, the skill of justice. So there are no just doctors, justice is a vocation all on its own. This ends up making justice not seem useful. After this another argument knocks this conception of justice down again (because Polemarchus still has not been persuaded, for the Greeks is this essential?). This time Socrates goes after who is a friend and who is an enemy. Quickly he pokes a few conceptual holes, but they repair the argument to make it better. But then Socrates challenges this by challenging that the just man harms people. His argument is from Techne and the standards involved in evaluating goodness in Techne. So it appears Techne can be appealed to as a whole to talk about the its narrow part dikaiosune. But the problem is that it involved standards of good even though dikaiosune is about good. But dikaiosune is about doing good. Is virtue as separate from being virtuous?

Now big bad Thrasymachus begins his debate with Socrates. Plato might be having some fun at Thrasymachus' expense, never the less he seems to see that there is something to the position. For Thrasymachus justice is "the advantage of the stronger". I, like many person infulenced by Marxist ideas, have some sympathy for this position. How will Socrates handle this? First he points out that the laws are not always advantagous to the rulers because they make mistakes. Clitophon makes what is to my eyes at least the quick fix to the argument . He says that justice is what the stronger think to be in their advantage. But this is not what Thrasymachus argued. But at least Plato is aware of that road, but he is not taking it. Rather he is concerned with justice as it relates to Techne. Otherwise it is simply justice as the stronger present the concept itself, rather than being realted to the feild of Techne.

Will finish later

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Werid Parallels

Okay I'm going to give you two links, both related to the Republicans and their new found spirit of anti-Obama anti-State anti-Democrat idiocy. A growing number advocate violence and their media, Fox-News, fosters this all the while saying "peaceful revolution". But their love of guns and fear of Obama rhetoric, their constant allusions to a certain Jefferson quote, all point to growing radicalism. So how do they react when presented with real radicalism from the left, the true communists (not Obama's center rightism)? Look at the relations between these videos:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Death of a Psychopath

As I walked out the door dragging the dead corpse of my wife, I realized there was a cop across the street. He looked at me and saw what I was doing. Like any good officer of the law, he walked over and told me to put my hands on my head. At a loss at what to do, I put my hands on my feat. This got blood on my shoes. I think he admired my flexibility, as he had lost this ability long ago. His stomach was far too large.

He lost the musculature of his youth in a way that was totally different from other police officers. He normally worked out everyday and ate right because he knew he needed to be in top shape in order catch the bad guys and get promoted to a position of authority so he could boss people around. However one day he looked over at his supervisor and realized something. He saw the dead weight in that man's eyes, hunched over at a desk. The power and ego trips that the supervisor had once revealed in had now lost their effect. The man was bored and he felt no better than a rookie cop going through the practical jokes of the other officers. Realizing that he was headed to the same fate, the officer had decided then and there to stop trying. There was no point to getting ahead, the miserable life of a police officer just continued. So he stopped working out everyday and stopped eating right. And for this reason he marveled at my ability to touch my feet with my blood stained hands.

Then he shot me, just for the heck of it. The miserable life of a police officer just goes on and on. No point in wrestling a homicidal maniac to the ground for nothing. Its a good thing he shot me too, because I did still have the knife in my pocket.

After I died I saw a total blackness in front of me. Then a light. I wondered which of the religion's afterlives would turn out to be the true one. In front of me I saw a man in a three piece suit. I asked if I would be taken to hell for the things I had done. He said "No... there is no 'hell' and there is no 'heaven'. At least I don't think so anyway. I'm Gihfwodothitch, but you can call me Hitch for short. Anyway here's how this works: You just finished your third life before game over. You, or should I say rather, your will, chose to spend this life murdering one wife after another. This was interesting considering you spent your last life helping the poor in India and running for political office in France in the one before that. Anyway you get to review any scenes from your life you want to look back on. After that you will get to pick the location of your next birth as well as your income bracket. Any questions?"


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On The Important

There are very few things in this world that one could call important. Importance is permitted only in silence. It is when something is so relevant to everything that you are forced to pay attention. This is a subjective judgment but that does not make this less valid. Importance may go back to child hood, to the deep battles brewing in the soul. Those moments you do daily are related and connected in a loop that is given wholeness. It is monster that keeps coming back again and again. If your life were flashing before your eyes, the events you saw would be the things that are important. When these things are joined to a something else deeply and forcefully that thing by extension carries new weight.

But not all important things are created equal. Things may end up creating hierarchies of importance. Some things seem trivial when talking about them in a detached and analytic mode, you only appreciate them when you are in tears. And memories of nights of hell vanish until they reappear ever beating down on your back. The more issues you have with something, the more it haunts you. This haunting is what the important is.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Ideas on Objects

Harman mentions that Husserl is an object oriented idealist. Objects always are there as objects in consciousness for Husserl. Whatever their outside reality at least they could be called subjectively given. In Lacan's analysis of the Purloined Letter he makes note of the subjective drama going on in the two scenes where the letter is taken. Both the queen and the magistrate know where the letter is but she cannot take it back, she thought it was hidden. Dupin's action of taking back the letter also does this except it was never hidden it was just a different letter when the magistrate's back was turned. He also makes note of how the police looked for the letter everywhere but even though they looked everywhere they missed something in this everywhere because it was not in its place. They as subjects were situated in something. We could say the objects they were revealed subjectively as something but they lied. The subjects work to make the objects lie. In the queen's case the she failed and for Dupin it was a success. The objects are always our power enemies. We lay our hands on them and try to make them something, try to talk about them, but the want to be their ontic selves. This is why materialism is mentioned around speculative realism (my ignorance is showing, this is only my guess).

Onticicity is more than simply the subjective conception of being given to objects. It is not what makes them objects, it is their irreduceablity itself in relation to language and being. When they form an alliance with us they say "alright I will buy into this ontology of yours". And within that ontology their onticity remains as part of that ontology.

Does this make sense though if we regard objects as events though? I may have forgotten that.

New Project

I have a new blog. It analyzes the anime Serial Experiments Lain. You should check it out if you like the anime. By extension you should also watch the anime so you can read the blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Memory as Perception

I have a memory of the past, this allows me to understand that time has past. Memory allows me to keep images with me as they pass from present view. Now as a way of coping one could say I deal with my world temporally and that I am a temporal being. But the operation of memory itself needs also to be looked at. I know I see with my eyes because when I cover them I can no longer see (in the context of where seeing means anything). If I plug my hears I can no longer hear. If I damage my frontal lobe, my parietal lobe, and my hippocampus will I no longer remember these activities. And if time on a clock changes I will no longer perceive this change or the duration of stasis. In one sense, I can no longer see reality in terms of time. But this no different from losing an eye. Content was not structured in terms of time, I saw time. Memory brought this aspect home to me. But now that I lack it, there is no time. I might stumble in time like a blind person stumbles in space. Others who see time would pity me, not because I could not fit into their world (though I could not), not because I would be different, but because I would fail in taking an essential feature rightly. Time was a perception as much as anything else. It was not any condition of my experience. As blinking makes one blind, so too a kind of forgetfulness or another mental state or a distraction may make one blind to time, making time as having a similar character to what we call perception. If time is a perception, and the organ we call memory allows us to have it, when does time lie to us like other perceptions sometimes do?